Kerion - Holy creatures quest 3.5/5
1. The last quest - Part 1
2. The last quest - Part 2
3. Queen of the Gorgons - Part 1
4. Queen of the Gorgons - Part 2
5. Warrior's call
6. Innocent unicorns
7. Battle of the Golems - Part 1: The alchemist
8. Battle of the Golems - Part 2: March of the legion
9. Battle of the Golems - Part 3: Golems' battle
10. Breath of heaven
11. Minotaurus furor
12. Final strike - Part 1
13. Final strike - Part 2
Kerion is a French band that was formed way back in 1997, and after a few demos, has finally provided their full-length debut 'Holy creatures quest'. As you could probably guess from the awesome cover artwork, they're a symphonic power metal band, but I don't find the CD to be exactly like any other symphonic power metal CD. There are definitely some moments that recall Rhapsody of Fire, Thy Majestie, and so on, but Kerion isn't as bombastic and isn't as predictable either. They're classically influenced of course, and musically, they remind me a lot of the new band Kyrie Eleison, whose debut 'In the arms of decadence' I reviewed earlier in 2008.
One thing about Kerion that kind of surprised me is that the band is female fronted. I'm not sure why, but it's maybe because the cover artwork is more along the lines of something I'd expect from Rhapsody of Fire as opposed to Nightwish. Anyway, with the band being female fronted, the overall band comparisons that have stood out the most are Wildpath, early Dark Moor, Minstrelix, early Fairyland, Nightwish on occasion, and even Hamka. Really, Kerion comes off as a blend of these bands, and musically, is just about as good.
As for the vocals, Flora Spinelli has a soft voice, kind of like Caroline Michaud from Wildpath, but Flora's voice is deeper and more in the direction of Elisa Martin (ex-Dark Moor, ex-Fairyland and Hamka). Perhaps another comparison is Lola from the new (and great) band Minstrelix, but really, I hear similarities to all 3 of these vocalists in Flora's voice. However, I don't consider her to be one of the best vocalists and there are times when she's too soft (not very expressive), and it feels like she'd be better suited for a laid-back gothic metal band. There are definitely moments where she sounds great, but her overall performance could easily be described as average to above average.
'Holy creatures quest' is a very long CD, clocking in at nearly 70 minutes, but it doesn't feel too long (like some of Rhapsody of Fire's CDs do), as most of the songs blend together well, as evident by the numerous "parts" in the tracklist. Another aspect that has stood out is that this is not a thoroughly fast-paced CD, as a lot of musical and vocal variety is incorporated to keep things interesting. There are some very impressive musical segments, and while I consider Flora's voice to be a good step down from the quality of the music, she doesn't come close to ruining the CD either. The problem just might be, that as a strong lover of female vocalists, I've heard many absolutely brilliant chicks and my standards are way too high.
Even though 'Holy creatures quest' flows well and the songs mostly blend together, there are highlights. Firstly, I must mention the beautiful slow song 'Breath of heaven' (track 10), which starts out with a piano and later picks up like an uplifting ballad. Flora actually sounds outstanding on this song, and I wish she sung in this passionate and expressive manner throughout the entire CD. I must also mentioned the fast-paced track 5 "Warrior's call" and track 9 "Battle of the Golems - Part 3: Golems' battle", which both contain fantastic guitar work (sometimes neo-classical style) and sweet guitar solos.
The bottom line is, if you're a fan of female fronted symphonic power metal, and especially Wildpath, early Dark Moor, Minstrelix, Nightwish, early Fairyland and Hamka, you'll probably enjoy this and find it to be a promising start for the band. Musically, this is very competitive, and vocally, there are moments where Flora shines and she certainly has potential. So check them out now and watch out for them in the future.
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